The New Balanced Dataslate just dropped today and it is shaking up the 40k competitive scene already. Let’s have a look through some of the biggest changes in this quarters dataslate and explore what they mean for the current meta!!
Let’s start by taking a look into the Universal Matched Play Rules. Armour of Contempt is a great new addition in my opinion, the number of power armoured armies doing well at recent tournaments has been dwindling and the main reason for it is that their survivability has stayed the same as the beginning of the edition but new armies have had their fire power get increasingly powerful and gained many many shots. The Armour of Contempt rule reduces the AP of any attack by 1 when it targets an Adeptus Astartes, Sanctic Astartes, Heretic Astartes or Adepta Sororitas model, which bumps their survivability right back up there, especially with the hits that this dataslate has bought down on the newer armies of this edition. This rule has exceptions where it doesn’t work like on models with Storm Shields and for that reason i think the biggest winners out of this are Scarab Occult Terminators and both variants of Death Guard Terminators seeing as they have 2+ saves and now reduce AP by 1 they will be the biggest buffed units by this ability and I personally will love seeing some more power armour on the top tables of events.
Next up we got Indirect Fire Weapons, I wrote an article about this topic last week and said how I thought this mechanic in the game needed to be addressed and toned down a little. A lot of you guys came up with nerfs that could be put in place including the one that GW has now implemented which is when you target a unity that is not visible to the firing model then you worsen the Ballistic Skill characteristic of that attack by 1. This rule alone will see a fall in the number of Indirect weapons we see in the game but GW has gone 1 step further and said in addition to this ruling, your opponent will get to add 1 to any armour saving throws made against an attack that targets them when not visible and that now pretty much means that artillery will no longer be able to wipe out tanky and important units with Indirect fire but will now have a more tactical role of clearing screens and small backfield objective holding units. Personally I think this is another positive change to the game due to the fact that Astra Militarum units are unaffected by these 2 rules, which is great because that would have hit their faction a little too hard considering they don’t even have a 9th Edition book yet.
Bodyguard Abilities, YES, YES, FREAKING HELL YES!! This rule was so damn obnoxious and needed changing right from the very start. I always found it so stupid when I was using Celestine with her 2 Geminae and my opponents had units stood 1″ away from her and couldn’t shoot her in the face because of my Sacresant unit that was stood behind a wall in bodyguard range of her. What the hell was that rule all about, didn’t make any sense both in the game and also visually. Boy am I glad they’ve fixed that, Now Bodyguard Abilities just allow characters in range of them use the Look Out, Sir rule even if the unit with the Bodyguard rule contains fewer than 3 models. This has changed in a big way and it now makes total sense, the rule has not been completely destroyed and still has value in the game, but is now balanced and not game breaking anymore. I am totally not biased on this one by the way guys, like I said it was a rule that I was also taking advantage of because it was very overpowered, but daaaammmmnnn was it bad for the game!!
Expect to see a tonne more Adepta Sororitas armies back on the tabletop soon as well people, they are now in a great spot thanks to 2 changes. The first of course being the Armour of Contempt rule which makes them a lot more survivable, but the second is also great because it reinforces a very powerful mechanic they have. Now we can all agree that Miracle Dice are extremely powerful especially when you can reliably bring units in from reserve knowing advance whether you can automatically make charges with them or not. Well before you used to gain a Miracle Dice at the start of each battle round and that has now changed to give you a Miracle Dice at the start of each turn, meaning you now get 1 in each players turn which makes Sisters now more survivable, but also more reliable at dealing out their damage.
Now we move on to the Big 3 and their nerfs guys, let’s take a look into Custodes first and how GW have tried to balance them out. Now having objective secured is a great way of outscoring your opponent in missions, but when all your unkillable characters are running around with it then it becomes a little ridiculous, GW has put a stop to that by saying only Troops units gain objective secured but this has hurt other units such as Allarus Custodians which was unnecessary and also means those Warden units have now been hit by double nerf. All in all probably a decent and balanced change. But here comes the pain for all the Custodes lovers out there, the biggest change for them is the fact that the stratagems Arcane Genetic Alchemy and Emperor’s Auspice can only be used on Infantry units now which means Bikes are just not worth their points anymore in my opinion. Infantry will still be amazingly tough with these strats but now its crazy because your infantry will be harder to take out then your Bikes and Dreadnoughts, this is one change I didn’t like because it hits this faction too hard. I think a better fix would have been to up the cost of these stratagems to 2 CP for any non-infantry units, that way they could have still benefitted but only for a turn or 2 until the CP’s run out. I think Custodes armies will now be made up mostly of Infantry and a few dreadnoughts and the 9 Vertus Praetors everyone was running will now be sat on some shelves gaining dust.